October 24, 2017 Subject:
You're moving much too slow
The final night of most New Year's runs were more about the party, but this NYE has a hot set and several ace versions. It's one of the top 5 or so NYEs ('72, '78, '87 and a couple early '80s). The post-coma era had a weird mix of vibes. Jer seemed so powerful - and lucky, though it probably took years from his life (and he didn't fix the big problem - his diet). The show was broadcast on KFOG. Graham organized a smaller affair this time, at 5k seats, and just about the rarest ticket ever (they hadn't played a NYE here since '82). Instead, the Oakland Coliseum shows were a couple weeks before, for people that weren't getting tix for the NYE run.
There are shows that have blurred into the ether but this show I remember (mostly). The NYE parties were long affairs, the procedure lasting 12hrs at least, from queue pass to all the bands/sets. Some shows you have a group of friends, but this show was an introspect zone; I recall the elation of the Dead sets and fête. I was half shut down from a head cold, exacerbated by entering the Bay Area fog, and had gone from the show the previous night straight to bed. We lucked into seats at the front of the seat-tier. The Kaiser was a weird old drafty, dark place. There was no security, so people brought in all manner of contrivance. The atmosphere was very private and weird. And in strange, shadowy, normally-cordoned corridors, odd goings-on and bacchanalian gatherings spun and sequestered, drums appearing, sound wafting. A post-incarceration Crosby gave his warning about avoiding Texas (he seemed old then!).
A blend of Robo and the trad and sacrosanct was plenty, but a couple beside us wanted to share a delicacy, set-aside and treasured. I balked, and they explained they were farmers from Humboldt. They had coddled a Thai landrace and saved the cola for NYE. We understood (at least, the "cola" part). It was gooey, earthy, white-glistened, pungent as fuck; but I then spent the whole of the Nevilles lapping the upper oval from scene to scene, touching base in time for the boys. Kids today will shrug - once they get off my lawn, they can walk into a store and ask for top shelf flower (which is more stun than satisfaction, imo). But back then, this was really something (I would argue, given hybridization and loss of distinction, it still is). On the way home, got snowed-in, but in Tahoe, so...
The show has been noted for a supposed-best Desolation Row and top Box of Rain (others mention the Gimme Some Lovin'). Though there were three sets, there are longer two-set shows from the era. The tone was set for the upcoming wild-ride Civic shows. It was exciting to get the tape and relive this most intimate and special of shows. I finally had some good tape connects, though my AUD was pitched fast and came from this cat that ranked his tapes too highly. But we weren't spoiled then.
First Set. Jack Straw is an auspicious start, setting up for an absolutely swinging Sugaree. Jer is hot (Healy is not) all the way through Me & My Uncle. By Mexicali, he's just adding fills galore. But check Phil on the ace Candyman - one of the era's best. This Desolation Row appears on best-of-version lists and it is indeed the zenith - if that's of interest. I can think of a couple that compare (like 3/24/90). The song was new that year, and the way shows had worked I hadn't seen one and was commensurately psyched. But, if you're covering H61, why would you pick such a word-fest, and not Tombstone or Buick 6 (especially if yr in the G Dead)? I expected it, because I knew a cat that was a big taper guy, who had been to the Greeks and had a listening party for 6/21; he thought it was THE show and it had a Desolation and... anyway I guess we were really into this band. The set ends with U.S. Blues, to prepare for the countdown, and with some loose drumming.
Second Set. Go to an AUD for the Countdown>Touch, which is edited on most SBDs. The room was levitating on excitement when the balloons dropped and Graham flew across on wires, dressed in a giant eagle costume. Touch of Grey is above average and we weren't sick of it yet! It was a perfect countdown song, fitting for the era, and was still in its '86 tempo. The AUDs have the balloon popping (and Healy interfering). The drummers are in the dryer for much of the set, making it less tight than the first, but Jer came to play and it's his night. He's on fire for Let it Grow (this and the previous night made me think "Good gods he's back". There had been a lot of opinions and surmisals floating around). Bobby's a little loose, for the party and, like the previous night, starts losing his voice. Black Muddy is just the 3rd one and tightens halfway. They hadn't played it the last few nights, so I recall it was a first for me - it was odd to hear new songs on NYE, and after so many years without new material (actually, Don't Need Love had appeared and gone and "900,000 tons" had sporadic airings). It's a downtempo Samson and drummer soup again, though the end jam is great. This Terrapin was shuddering intensity in person but doesn't hold up as well on tape. They had been rare at the time and it was well-received after doing the Samson Shimmy. A 21min Drums>Space and a perfunctory Wharf Rat lead to the set peak, an ace Goin' Down the Road. Everything tightens.
Third Set. Some note this Gimme Some Lovin'. It is quite solid, but not as good as several in '87. They had played then-new Push to Shove 6 of the last 7 shows, and this was the first it was nailed. This is as good as it got - two years steady play then dropped. Box of Rain had become more frequent in '86, but this is the best of the era. Midnight Hour is rickety at 2am, and when Bobby starts losing his voice they bail. Funeral wreaths were put out for the encore; memorials for a family wife.
1st Set: A 2nd Set: C+ 3rd Set: B
Overall = 4 stars
Sugaree - a swinging 'ree
Me & My Uncle - Jers starts a tear here
Mexicali Blues - fills galore
Candyman - tight and Phil is great
Desolation Row - sometimes called the best-ever
Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad - 2nd set apogee
When Push Comes to Shove - probably nobody's fave, but nailed nonetheless
Box of Rain - era best
SOURCES: The walker-scotton soundboard (99051) has more depth than the miller_77447. The sbeok_81330 is a great AUD at source-gen (though pitched slightly fast). The prefm_candyman_4637 has a hall sound. The AA-toaK1 is pitched too slow and the chasingwilma too fast. FM versions weren't the best (maybe why none are on the archive). A matrix would be da kine.
December 31, 2014 Subject:
Same post.. Listen folks sounds great
I think the review 2 below mine is commenting on the sound like we should be doing. I do same thing many others do and comment on my time at the show itself. AS far as better new years shows are many better then this but if it only one someone went to maybe its the best of best for that reason alone. Love this
To me this sounds as good as any other the folks who taped these shows wee one of the very best to capture the sound boards from the band itself. I have read that they had an in with Healy? or Bobby. Either way its why almost everyone of the recordings they put up here are top notch TOP TOP notch.
Happy New Year Everyone.... And big thanks for posting these memories. Giving 5 stars to balance out the rating.
June 10, 2009 Subject:
The next to the worst...
With all due respect y'all don't know what your talking about this is definitely one the of the worst New Year's show ever! Perhaps the only one worse than this is that one where they did "Not Fade Away" twice, (which might be the next year I can't remember, these where all so bad)? (Well I partially take this back since some of the tunes are pretty well performed like "When Push Comes to Shove", "Desolation Row" and a few others like "Gimme Some Lovin'" "Midnight Hour" but I still maintain this ain't nothing compared to years before as stated below)!
How do I know? Well, I went to nearly every New Year's show after the closing of Winterland, I think I only missed two or three of them, which went that good either but maybe even better than this! If you want to hear a good one I kindly but strongly urge you to check out 81'-82' which in my humble opinion was the best ever, even better than the closing of Winterland, although I know I'll get some argument about that or some of the earlier shows! Why, besides them playing Dark Star which yes they also did at the the closing of Winterland but a lot of other great stuff which gusto and for 4 hours and 10 minutes not including the breaks (plural)!
In general, they are either roughly about as good as the previous one, from the last few Winterland ones on through the first few at Oakland Aud, (later known as Kaiser) to gradually getting better up to my favorite and then gradually getting worse from then on with a few minor exceptions!
May 23, 2009 Subject:
best time ever at the Kaiser
Best playing (for the era) most fun all around. Band was in great spirits and clearly having a lot of fun. Really hard ticket. Check out Phil booming into gimme some lovin to start the 3rd set! Good quality board here.